Time to review drug emphasis
If a majority of local law enforcement officials say methamphetamine is the biggest illegal drug problem they face, why is the national drug use prevention effort focused most on marijuana? That seems a dangerous disconnect between policy and reality that has serious implications for law enforcement and the safety of the public.
A new survey conducted by the National Association of Counties polled law enforcement agencies in 500 counties in 45 states. Fifty-eight percent of those agencies ranked methamphetamine as their worst illegal drug problem. Less than 20 percent ranked marijuana first.
The survey found that 70 percent of the law enforcement agencies said methamphetamine use was driving up the number of burglaries and robberies. It was deemed the top illegal drug problem in every region of the country except the Northeast.
Alabama officials are all too familiar with the problems of methamphetamine. A new law aimed at limiting access to a basic ingredient used to make methamphetamine took effect this month, and law enforcement officials are hopeful that it will slow the spread of the drug by making its production more difficult.
The drug may be easily made with readily obtainable items, particularly cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, which any pharmacy or grocery store sells.
The new law limits the amount of such medications an individual may purchase and requires that these medications not be kept on open shelves. Purchasers must sign and present identification for the products.
Federal official defend the emphasis on marijuana by noting that it is the most commonly used illegal drug. That's true. However, its use -- although certainly a concern -- does not routinely lead to the kinds of problems that methamphetamine use does.
"We do have to keep all drug threats in context, which means you can't ignore marijuana," said David Murray, a policy analyst for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
No one's suggesting that, but a review of policies in light of the growing methamphetamine is certainly in order.
Thank you for your recent editorial "Time to review drug emphasis".
In that editorial you asked,
"If a majority of local law enforcement officials say methamphetamine is the biggest illegal drug problem they face, why is the national drug use prevention effort focused most on marijuana?"
The reason is JOB SECURITY.
Back in the 90's the DEA and ONDCP got failing grades by the GAO because they were unable to show that they were accomplishing anything.
The White House set a new goal for the ONDCP: reducing (by specific percentages) the number of illegal drug users in the United States.
Since there are more marijuana users than users of all other illicit drugs combined the ONDCP focused their resources on pot smokers in order to inflate their numbers and keep their $11 billion a year budget intact.
This is a classic case of "let's look like we're doing something" when in reality NOTHING is being done.
They don't want to actually solve the drug problem because, let's face it; if they reached their stated objectives they would be out of a job.
The DEA and ONDCP have been abject failures since their inception and they use their continued failure as justification for more funding.
Maybe it is time for states to craft their own drug policies. Lets lead the way in Alabama by taxing, regulating and controlling marijuana so our cops will be able to focus their very limited resources on real problems.
Alabama Marijuana Party